Waterborne Drugs

Meds in Urban Streams Drive Microbial Resistance




Irina Kozorog/Shutterstock.com

A new study published in the journal Ecosphere confirms that in urban streams, persistent pharmaceutical pollution can cause aquatic microbial communities to become resistant to drugs. Researchers evaluated the presence of pharmaceuticals, including painkillers, stimulants, antihistamines and antibiotics, in four streams in Baltimore, Maryland. Then they measured the microbial response to drug exposure. Selected study sites represented a gradient of development from suburban to urban.

Emma Rosi, an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and lead author on the study, explains, “Wastewater treatment facilities are not equipped to remove many pharmaceutical compounds. We were interested in how stream microorganisms, which perform key ecosystem services like removing nutrients and breaking down leaf litter, respond to pharmaceutical pollution. When we expose streams to pharmaceutical pollution, we are unwittingly altering their microbial communities, yet little is known about what this means for ecological function and water quality.”


This article appears in the May 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Warming Planet Will Worsen Sleep

Rising temperatures could cause six additional nights of poor sleep per 100 people by 2050 and 14 by 2099, say scientists.

Exercise Benefits Cancer Survivors

Breast cancer survivors that regularly perform moderate-to-vigorous physical activity show improved attention, memory and multitasking abilities.

Eating Apples and Tomatoes Repairs Lungs

Fresh tomatoes and fruit, especially apples, help heal damaged lungs of ex-smokers and can slow the natural decline of lung function that typically occurs after age 30.

Steam Baths Ease Allergies

Thais with hay fever that soaked in half-hour steam baths three times a week reported fewer symptoms such as sneezing, nasal itching and congestion.

Bee Venom Is Powerful Lyme Disease Remedy

Bee venom reduces the Lyme disease bacterium more effectively than antibiotics, reports the Lyme Disease Research Group, in Connecticut.

Add your comment: